Surely it is not only me who, upon revealing that I have neurodivergent family members, is told by well meaning listeners how heroic I am?
Wow. I don’t know how you do it.
Good for you for supporting them so much.
You are amazing to put up with all of that.
I couldn’t do what you do.
Well, I’m not sure exactly what it is people think I do, but I’m pretty sure they don’t understand my life at all.
You see, I am raising two Autistic children. One Bipolar young adult lives at home with us. One teen experiences severe anxiety. One of our Autistic kids has significant sensory challenges.
And there is nothing heroic about me being their mother.
Do you want to know what I do?
I do what it takes.
Just like pretty much every parent I know.
I listen to them. I laugh with them. I cry with them.
We learn together what supports they need. I do everything in my power to ensure they receive those supports.
I stay up late and get up early.
I help them with their medications.
I take them to appointments.
I help them with their education.
I make mistakes every single day.
I worry about them. I pretend I am not worrying about them.
I love them.
I accept them.
I encourage them.
I guide them.
I hold their hands if they ask me to. But only for a while because I know they can reach their goals on their own.
All I do is what it takes.
There is nothing more heroic about what I do as a parent than what any other parent does. If people think I am heroic it is because they don’t understand that.
They don’t understand that it is just as easy to love an Autistic child as it is to love a non-Autistic one.
They don’t understand that parenting is hard, no matter who your child is.
They don’t understand that different challenges are not automatically worse or harder.
They don’t understand that all I am doing is what my kids need me to.
I am supporter, encourager, nagger, organiser, advocate, researcher, teacher, student, driver, cook, cleaner, mentor, and mother.
But I am certainly not a hero.